Pre-orders ▪ May 26

If you’re reading this article, you already know Apple’s pre-order drill for major new releases: Apple announces a new product, says advance online orders will start at 12:01am on a specific day, and then — when most of its customers are either exhausted or groggy — re-opens its online store to a pent-up frenzy of reservations. Virtually every time, Apple’s most dedicated customers deal with delays and web site loading problems. Sometimes, even if their orders were placed in the first hour or two of sales, they may also face uncertainty over adequate supplies for launch day deliveries.

Despite Apple CEO Tim Cook’s suggestion that the Apple Watch rollout could not be going better, his customers have widely deemed it a disaster: some unlucky people who pre-ordered Apple Watches in the first 10 minutes still haven’t received anything a full month later. Meanwhile, a group of “luckier” people — notably including scalpers — have found ways to skip Apple’s pre-order lines, walking into boutiques such as Maxfield in Los Angeles, and buying bunches of the same Watches pre-orderers are still waiting for.

Sure, overwhelming demand for new products can be hard to manage, and business gurus tend to write this off as a “good problem” for any company to have. But at some point, that good problem becomes chronic, frequently dissatisfying customers, which is when it has officially become a “bad problem.” Whether he admits it or not, that’s the situation Tim Cook faces today. The good news is that he’s well-known as a supply chain genius, so if anyone’s capable of fixing the three key problems within Apple’s screwy pre-order system, it’s him. My hope is that discussing these issues — as well as solutions — will inspire the improvements Apple’s customers have been wanting for a long time…

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Pre-orders ▪ October 17, 2014

iPad Air 2

After going down earlier this morning to update the site in preparation for selling the new iPads, the Apple Online Store is back up with both the iPad Air 2 and the iPad mini 3 available for pre-order. Current ship times for each model shows 2-4 business days while Apple said yesterday the new iPads would begin shipping by the end of next week. Buyers are reporting delivery promises of Thursday, October 23rd. expand full story

Pre-orders ▪ September 13, 2013

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While the iPhone 5c became available for pre-order today in several countries via Apple’s website, Apple is currently not offering pre-orders for the iPhone 5s or reservations for pickup at Apple Stores for either model. However, this will change on September 17th in China. Apple began noting this on its website on the day the new iPhones were announced, and MacTrast brought it to our attention today.

Starting on September 17th, customers visiting both the general China Apple website and the Hong Kong Apple website will be able to reserve either an iPhone 5s or an iPhone 5c for pickup at an Apple Store. In line with the official launch date of the new devices, the pickups will begin on September 20th. At the Apple Store, employees will help customers who reserve devices choose carrier plans and setup the iPhone…

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Pre-orders ▪ September 5, 2013

iPhone 5S Rear Shell

“Gold” iPhone 5S backplate

China Telecom, one of the carriers in China to carry Apple’s iPhone, posted a message on microblogging website Weibo indicating that it will soon carry both of Apple’s upcoming iPhones: the iPhone 5S and iPhone 5C. The message has since been deleted.

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With Apple holding a satellite stream of the September 10th media event in China, it is already likely that the country will see a promoted launch of both of the new iPhones. However, the information from China Telecom seems to indicate that the launch will occur early in Apple’s new iPhone release cycle. With past iPhone launches, Apple saved the China debut for weeks or months after the device’s first hit countries like the United States, Germany, and Australia.

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A post on Sina indicates a September 20th launch, a date forecasted by some reports.

Perhaps corroborating a launch soon after the unveiling, major China-based retailer Dixintong is said to begin carrying the new iPhones on September 25th. It’s unclear if this is a general launch date for China, or just the date that this specific retailer has chosen.

In addition to seeing the device early-on in the release plan, recent chatter seems to indicate that China Mobile, the largest mobile carrier in the country, will gain the iPhone with the launches of the iPhone 5S and iPhone 5C. The lower-cost, plastic backed iPhone 5C seems to have been developed with markets such as China in mind…

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